So this appears to be a thing now. Just last week, Google’s Cultural Institute released a Chrome extension that hangs famous works of artists from the likes of Van Gogh, Degas, and Claude Monet in empty browser tabs. The developers at Yahoo! apparently then saw that, and decided to fart out a similar Chrome extension of their own, this time using Flickr as a source.
Functionally, the Flickr Tab extension is almost identical to the Google Art Project extension. Install the Flickr extension with just a single click, then load up a new tab, and it’ll be filled with a bright, vibrant, high-resolution image randomly plucked from the Flickr archives.
It’s pretty innocuous, but I’m torn on it. If you’re going to blast pretty pictures into an empty browser tab, whether you prefer Google Art Project or Flickr Tab is pretty much a toss-up, at least content-wise. What would you rather do several times a day? Educate yourself about the work of long-dead masters, or engage with a vibrant, contemporary community of photographers, each showing you how the world looks through their eyes?
Personally, I’d rather do the latter. But what makes Flickr Tab slightly more worrisome, in my mind, is the way it subtly inflicts its brand upon the one safe haven in every browser. Install Flickr Tab, and even your empty tabs will now promote Internet companies! At least Google had the good grace to not slap its logo on top of the Mona Lisa in its extension.
Look, I know I’m overthinking it. Just ignore me. Flickr’s great, and you have to navel-gaze pretty hard to see anything insidious about letting Yahoo hang some pretty pictures in your empty browser tabs.
If you’re so inclined, you can download the extension here.